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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Study finds results ‘mixed’ after implementation of prison realignment

The SunA recent study has called California’s prison realignment law an experiment in prisoner reduction “that was poorly planned” and in many instances gave counties little to no time to properly prepare for the influx of inmates into the local supervisory system.

The Stanford Law School and Stanford Criminal Justice Center said realignment or Assembly Bill 109, a law that looked to reduce the state’s prison population by shifting monitoring and housing responsibilities of lower-level offenders to individual counties, has the potential to improve the state’s handling of those convicted of property and drug crimes but as of now, that potential has yet to be realized.

In the study, Joan Petersilia says that many probation and law enforcement officials have pointed to “loopholes” in the law, the most glaring being what some call the misnomer of lower-level offenders.

Under AB 109, those convicted of a “triple-non” — nonsexual, nonviolent, nonserious — offense could be eligible for community supervision. However, many opponents of the legislation say only an inmate’s last conviction is taken into account leading to many felons with previous violent convictions being placed on local supervision.

“Having come from State Parole, within Corrections, I am all too familiar with this population in that this class of offenders tend to recidivate at a higher rate,” said Los Angeles County Probation Assistant Chief Margarita Perez in a recent interview. “A more accurate assessment of low-level offenders should have taken into account the offender’s entire criminal history, the likelihood to reoffend based upon a validated risk assessment tool, the offender’s mental health status and/or gang affiliation and their adjustment while incarcerated within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and while under prior supervision (parole or probation).” continue reading...

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